I like newer kites. I typically buy about three kites a year and simply cannot justify taking
the depreciation hit on 'brand new'. My last great purchase was RRD's Hyper 15. I sold a
Contra Bow 14 earlier this year that did not hold up to the promise of being 'light air
magic'. I called it the Blue Marshmellow - spongy, soft and slow. By contrast the Hyper is
at least 30% faster and I'm able to generate plenty of AW when needed. It has one twitch:
it can overfly and hindenburg if the winds are going from nothing-to-something. I make
sure I keep it moving if I fly into a lull. It also has a donkey dick that comes out because it
is not stiff enough - but perhaps the greatest bar in my quiver: it gradually gets larger
toward the center making it wonderful to hold.
My newest purchase is the 2007, F-ONE Rival 12. This is A WELL SORTED kite! Beautifully
done and flys like a stunt kite. Sounds silly, but how a kite looks in the air is important:
this one White/Black/Red is a beauty with fast looking scallloped TE's. The Hyper is 4-line
whereas this Rival is 5-line split into a double bridle at the top. I can see a potential
conflict if you over-wrap one of those inside lines. The lines are really idiot-proof, except
for this. They got jazzy with the bar by moulding shapes into the grips - I prefer a smooth
large grip like the RRD.
During the first flight with any new kite, I pull the emergency: The Rival works better than
most. It goes to the 5th with the bar sliding away but not too far and without tangles -
kite tits up. Re-launch should be dead simple. The actual release is double Velcro - I find
the pin types more comforting for some reason. The depower strap is sorta 2004 also but
works. I didn't get a chance to test self-launch/landing.
I was comfortable with the Rival in 20sec. ..and it's a jumper!
j i m